October 11, 2017

The supernova MUSSES1604D (Image courtesy Institute of Astronomy, the University of Tokyo)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes a research that provides evidence that the explosion of a supernova was triggered by the detonation of a helium layer on the surface of a white dwarf. A team of researchers led by Ji-an Jiang of the University of Tokyo used the Subaru telescope with follow-up observations using the Gemini-North telescope to study MUSSES1604D, a type Ia supernova. Their conclusion is that a white dwarf stole helium from a companion star and it formed a layer that at one point exploded, triggering the supernova.